Fuller pitches new plan for surplus funds

A month after the Newton City Council rejected Mayor Fuller’s plan for millions of dollars in surplus funds, Fuller is trying another approach. This time she’s proposing a fund for debt payments that could free up more money for schools.

“With their ideas in mind, I’m trying again,” Fuller wrote in an email announcement Tuesday.

In August, Fuller announced more than $40 million in surplus funds—much of which comes from a tax settlement from Eversource—as well as a plan to spend some on schools over several years and establish an Operations Booster Stabilization Fund to deal with the city’s growing post-retirement costs.

The Finance Committee, and later the City Council, rejected the plan, with several councilors calling for more money to go to the schools now.

Now, Fuller is asking the Council to put $26 million of the one-time funds into a Dept Service Stabilization Fund for principal and interest payments on bonds for capital investments so that “the City of Newton will have more flexibility and available funding to support programs and services for School and City operations.”

With intense contract negotiations between Newton’s teachers and its school committee now in state mediation, the Newton Teachers Association has blamed Fuller for not putting enough money for schools in her budget requests.

“I continue to be committed to providing additional funding to the Newton Public Schools and to propose ways to support our students and educators as well as our residents and businesses,” Fuller said.

The City Council will have to vote on the new plan, and the creation of a stabilization fund requires a two-thirds majority vote.